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Rachel-Prendergast-Tombeno MCPHS student

BS/DPT Student Rachel Prendergast-Tombeno Explains Her MCPHS Transfer Experience

  • Learn about the MCPHS transfer student experience through the eyes of Rachel Prendergast-Tombeno, BS/DPT ’23.

    Growing up in Arlington, MA, Rachel Prendergast-Tombeno, BS/DPT ’23, was familiar with the Boston area; however, it wasn’t until she decided to transfer out of Sacred Heart University that she became aware of MCPHS. She had been studying exercise science, but she wanted to find a program that would set her up better for graduate school and a career in physical therapy. Through her research, she discovered that MCPHS was the best place for her to continue her academic journey given her passion for healthcare and desire to form personal connections with faculty and staff. “I think the main pull for me was the small class size, it’s close to home . . . and every class we take is for the purpose of entering the healthcare world, which I really like,” says Rachel. She is now enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences – Physical Therapy Pathway (BS/DPT), which allows her to jump straight into her doctorate and complete the degree in six years instead of the traditional seven.  

    Rachel loves the way that her courses are conducted, with numerous faculty members making themselves available for questions at the end of each class. Currently, her favorite course is Interpersonal Communication in Healthcare, as she finds it to be an aspect of healthcare that is often overlooked. She says, “I think it’s very important to learn how to properly communicate, especially with patients. My professor compares what we learn to how we would practice it with the patient, and I think it will help all of us to form better relationships with whom we’re working.” The University’s focus on healthcare and value of interprofessional education and interdisciplinary collaboration were other draws for Rachel. “It’s so refreshing, because everyone I meet is motivated the same way I’m motivated; they want to make the world a healthier and better place for the population,” she says. According to Rachel, connecting with people and finding study groups at a completely healthcare-drive institution has been much easier than at her previous university, and since all her roommates in pathway programs as well, they have similar work ethics and fewer distractions.

    In her experience as a transfer student, Rachel has found that the best way to acclimate to a new campus is to get involved, whether that means going to a professor’s office hours, joining a student organization, or participating in one of the preprofessional clubs that every MCPHS program offers. While Rachel is still transitioning to her new life as an MCPHS student, she is already immersing herself in all that the University offers. She is involved with the Physical Therapy - Occupational Therapy (PT-OT) club, which allows her to network with fellow students both in and outside of her program. The club also provides a chance for her to receive advice from her peers on resume formatting, choosing class schedules, and job and internship applications. Despite efforts to socialize, however, the college transfer process can still be daunting, and Rachel’s experience was no exception. Since her previous curriculum was set up differently, she had to take six courses during the summer to enter into the second year of the BS/DPT program. Fortunately, MCPHS administrators minimized Rachel’s stress about getting on track. She says, “This school was definitely the one that spoke out to me the most because the people I got in touch with at admissions were very nice. They were willing to call me, email me, and they were here for whatever I needed.” 

    Rachel feels appreciative of the entire MCPHS Community for helping her to have a smooth transfer experience. “I am still in the process of starting over, but everyone is so nice here. . . . Once I got admitted, everyone I heard from made me feel very welcome and like I belong here.” She also credits the University’sCenter for Academic Success and Enrichment (CASE) for easing her academic transition. “There were some [instances] where I was not used to learning a certain way . . . . But when I reached out to CASE, they were more than willing to help me. Those CASE staff [members] were very familiar with working with transfer students and adjusting them to the new learning environment,” Rachel says.

    Although her time at MCPHS is just beginning, Rachel feels that the University is preparing her well to become a healthcare professional with not just the skills, but also the confidence to succeed. “All of the professors here start to treat you like a working healthcare professional early on. I think to understand that you are in fact very close to becoming one you have to push aside that imposter syndrome,” she says. “If you don’t feel like you have the confidence, [believe that] you definitely do because you got to this place. This institution is building you to be at the forefront of the medical field, so I think you just have to realize that you made it here, and you are worthy to enter that workforce.”

    Learn more about transferring to MCPHS.

    Learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences – Physical Therapy (BS/DPT) Pathway program.